Alaskan Ice

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Valdez Harbor.

My Everest training kicked into high gear this week with a “pre expedition” expedition to Alaska. Our experience was most excellent and we climbed for almost a week.  Lee and Neil and Angela did their usual over-the-top taking care of us. We began the first day climbing the beer can routes outside of Anchorage. IMG_20180313_120110174

Then we moved on to bigger things. Soon we’re at Caribou Creek a couple of hours outside of Anchorage on the way to Valdez. While climbing here, one of our members took a lead whipping fall and injured his rib. His name is Martin. Martin is a Polish climber now living in Anchorage and friends with Neil and Lee.


Just driving through the starkness of Alaska in winter is breathtaking.


I realize this image is sideways but I’m editing it from my phone in the Anchorage Airport and can’t seem to find a way to rotate it. As a matter of fact about to give up on this whole post because my phone doesn’t have the editing tools are required for the blog but suffice it to say we found an outstanding trip with tons of ice climbing in great camaraderie.


There’s an interesting story about this picture of our second day climbing ar caribou Creek.


We started off in single-digit temperatures and snowmobiled across a frozen creek to this area 5 miles back in the middle of nowhere Alaska. It was brutally cold.  In the picture above this one with the snowmobiles Lee is finishing off a lead with our new-found friend Martin. Martin takes a lead whipping fall and nearly cracks his ribs. We were climbing across from him on another route on the same piece of ice hanging off the side of the mountain. We heard a thunderous crash which was apparently Martin falling and landing on his rib cage. Bang a tough climber he stayed the rest of the day and we all proceeded to head out on the snowmobiles whereupon Neil insisted that I drive his snow machine.   There was a caravan of three of us going out Caribou Creek. I was following closely in Martin’s tracks on the machine that carried me, Neil and most all of our gear on a sled. Before I knew what happened the front part of my snow machine was pretty much down into a hole and ejected me off across the frozen creek bed. I launched a good 10 feet. Meanwhile, Neil is struggling to keep the machine from totally flipping over.  John Davis and Lee came to the rescue and we were able to reverse the machine and put enough weight on the right side to keep it from flipping.  I had to eat ibuprofen for dinner and learned that I could put my legs in delivery stirrups if necessary.  Neil learned never to hand me the wheel. It turns out Martin did not crack his ribs, just severely bruised them. It’s good to have a doctor with you in the backcountry.




Thank you Neil and Lee for a perfect outing. You may notice that Denali Dan was not present this year.  He is getting ready and fit for the next trip. Everest is 2 plus weeks away so stay tuned to this space for more pics and information.


6 Responses

  1. Jeff G.

    Pretty sweet, John. Beautiful pictures (even the sideways ones).

  2. John

    Thanks Jeff. It’s some bug between Android phones and WordPress blog that causes the sideways pics. Can’t seem to find a patch for it online.

  3. Freddy

    Will follow this blog from my couch this year, good luck!